Jay Parini is a highly regarded writer and academic. He is known for his novels, poetry, biography and criticism. He was born in Pittston, Pennsylvania, and brought up in Scranton. He graduated from Lafayette College in 1970. He was awarded a doctorate by the University of St. Andrews in 1975. He taught at Dartmouth College from 1975 to 1982 and, since 2005, has taught at Middlebury College. Jay Parini is married to the writer Devon Jersild. He has been appointed literary executor for the author Gore Vidal. His latest release is entitled Why Poetry Matters.